Thursday, 13 November 2014

Ditch the desktop

Every facet of the modern world faces similar problems: increasing costs, reducing space, and fewer resources to work with. In our particular industry we feel the acute pressure this brings with a greater intensity than most.

Your average movie-goer might not realise how much technology is actually behind Pixar’s latest character, Dneg’s black hole for Interstellar, or Foster + Partner’s buildings. But we do. We also know that in order to create sprawling epics, accurate architecture, or pinpoint detail you need a lot of technology. And your creative teams need to be able to get access to it easily.

And once again we feel the issues that have plagued the industry for years. We have limited access to power consumption, workstations get hot, and you need to cram more artists into the same amount of space. So with desks getting smaller, costs getting higher, and demands increasing, how do you cope?

We’ve come up with the ideal solution. Don’t give your creatives their own workstations. Instead, get us to build you a rack mounted workstation solution.

A what?

Imagine all the power of your workstations in a rack. And imagine being able to get access to that from anywhere.

Developed in partnership with Supermicro, NVIDIA and Teradici the result is a series of rack-mounted workstations that you can install in your server room. Creatives can access the brute power of them from their desks, or even remotely, and you get all the benefits of having a centralised micro-data-centre.

Your cooling costs go down because you’re not competing with workstation heat on the creative floor. Security is greater and you’re less likely to lose data. Power consumption is also mitigated and you get back that most valuable of commodities: more space.

The technology behind this innovative solution means you can even store your rack workstations at an off-site facility and keep your central locations for the creative process.

remote-workstation-home

What’s more, this isn’t theoretical. We’ve successfully been deploying these systems for over three years now, and they’re still working well.

So it’s true. Creatives don’t need their own workstations.

It’s a bold idea. But then Escape Technology is known for successfully implementing new thinking. 

Friday, 31 October 2014

New NUKE family revealed

The Foundry has revealed their new NUKE family of products, including the long-anticipated NUKE Studio.

At a packed out event at VUE in Leicester Square the latest versions, along with pricing, were discussed by a panel of experts. The result of two years’ tireless work, NUKE 9, NUKE Studio, and major updates to other packages are expected to greatly enhance the VFX production process. New tools help users to work faster, more efficiently, and with more power than ever before.

Escape Technology were thrilled to be involved in the testing process, and even showed off the new software running on our bespoke workstation in glorious 4K at the event itself.

If you’d like to find out more about the new products, or register your interest for their official release, then This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

And if you missed the event, don’t worry – there’s a full video here:

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Save 40% on Adobe licenses

If you’re using CS3 products then you’re eligible for 40% off a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud when you purchase five or more licenses by November 28th.

The deal is ideal for those studios who are still using older versions and want to upgrade to the latest packages.

Adobe CC allows user to access files across the cloud and automatically download updates to software as they’re released. It also provides cost savings based on subscriptions as opposed to buying a single package, or a suite, outright.

If you’d like to take advantage of the offer then This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. today for more information.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Maxwell Render for Houdini updates released

Updates to Next Limit’s Maxwell Render plugin for Houdini, the 3D animation plugin, have been released.

The Maxwell Render plugin for Houdini has joined seven other updates from Next Limit in October and brings new features including an updated ROP interface.

Houdini uses a procedural, node-based workflow to enable users to create content faster. Delivery timelines can be reduced dramatically, and is ideal for modellers, lighters, character riggers, and animators.

The Maxwell Render for Houdini plugin provides a close integration between Maxwell Render and SideFX Houdini, making it possible to set Maxwell Render specific parameters within Houdini and exports complex scenes to Maxwell Render.

Users of Maxwell Render v3 can download the update for free from Next Limit’s customer gateway. If you don’t use v3 but would like to try it then head over to the demo area of the website, or contact Escape Technology.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

V-Ray 3.0 for Maya is ready for battle

V-Ray 3.0 for Maya is finally here! And with it comes a raft of new features and improvements to enhance your workflow. What's even better is that V-Ray 2.0 for Maya commercial purchases after 20 February are eligible for a free upgrade and will receive one workstation license and two render nodes.

Contact Escape Technology today to get hold of the latest version.

Check out V-Ray in our online store.

Here's the official release from Chaos Group:

Chaos Group today announced the release of V-Ray 3.0 for Maya, delivering a powerful new set of features and optimizations focused on speeding up lighting, look development, and rendering workflows. 

"This is, by far, the most substantial upgrade for our rendering pipeline since we switched to V-Ray five years ago,” said Kirk Shintani, Head of 3D at a52. “The ‘beta’ was stable and amazingly fast, and the staff reaction to 3.0 is summed up with one word, ‘Whoa.’ It's that kind of fast. It allows us to stay focused on making cool imagery. That's why we do what we do, isn't it?" 

Throughout the V-Ray 3.0 for Maya development cycle, Chaos Group worked with artists and studios to benchmark and analyze a number of production scenes. From their research, they found opportunities for significant speed increases as their team refined each section of code. These advances, coupled with beta feedback, bring about many of the key features in V-Ray 3.0 for Maya including:

Faster Ray Tracing and Rendering Performance

V-Ray 3.0 for Maya introduces a faster ray tracing core that significantly speeds up a number of calculations for global illumination, lighting, shading and more. For additional speed gains, V-Ray 3.0 also includes an option to enable the Intel® Embree ray caster for static and motion-blurred geometry, proxy objects and instances.

Faster Feedback

V-Ray 3.0 for Maya adds a new Progressive Image Sampler with a full range of production features and is compatible with all of V-Ray’s GI algorithms such as irradiance map, light cache, and brute force path tracing. The Progressive Image Sampler generates quick feedback even with complex features such as volumetric effects, depth of field, and motion blur. An enhanced V-Ray RT engine renders directly in the Maya Viewport and supports animated sequences as well as final frame rendering. 

Advanced Characters and Creatures

V-Ray 3.0 optimizes shading and rendering of millions of strands of semi-transparent hair with greater speed and efficiency. For added detail and realism, V-Ray 3.0 now supports subsurface scattering with object-based and ray traced illumination, and the new VRaySkinMtl skin shader.

Friday, 17 October 2014

A ride and a half

Saturday saw Escape Technology’s in augural bike ride (and sneaky peak at our new branding).

Hosted by Escape Technology and our sponsors, HP, at the Lee Valley VeloPark, of Olympics fame, we took to the track with friends and family from around the VFX industry.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

A nightmare of a challenge

The Mocha Halloween Contest is back!

Our friends at Imagineer Systems, along with their partner sponsors, are giving you the chance to win some great software prizes by entering their video competition.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Nuke 9 Live!

On 21st October The Foundry will reveal all about NUKE 9 and the long-awaited NUKE STUDIO. And you could be there.

Be part of the audience for the live digital event for a chance to win a license for NUKE STUDIO. And enjoy the panel of industry experts, exciting announcements, and general merriment while you're there.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Foundry Halloween Competition

Our annual Halloween Competition is here, so brush up on your MODO/MARI/NUKE skills and join in! Enter your spooky image or short in one of these categories: animation, still image, preset (best share site submission) and random. 

Friday, 03 October 2014

ZED: Halfway there

HP’s ZED pop up studio has been in town for a week, and what a week it’s been!

From software presentations to speed sculpting, we’ve seen it all.

Thursday, 02 October 2014

Escape Technology Flexible Finance and Leasing

There’s a catch 22 in a lot of creative industries – you need to make a financial outlay for equipment before being able to get your pay day. So how do you leverage the funds needed to pick up the all-important kit?

Thursday, 02 October 2014

EIZO CTO Breakfast

On 23rd September Escape Technology held yet another successful CTO breakfast here in Soho, this time with our partners Eizo.

Nakashima-San from EIZO flew to the UK to unveil and showcase their latest range of EIZO 4K UHD ColorEdge monitors to a jam packed room full of media and entertainment professionals.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Google buys cloud rendering company Zync

Search engine giant Google has acquired Zync, a firm that enables VFX sequences to be rendered via the cloud.

Zync becomes the latest in a series of 26 acquisitions for Google this year alone. And while financial details of the deal were not disclosed Zync will become part of Google’s Cloud Platform team. 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Time to grow

Escape Technology catches up with its newest technical guru: Tim Harcourt.

Tim is Escape’s newest new recruit. “Newest new” because we’ve just recruited two techies to join our burgeoning team. 

Joining us from a background in electronics and computing, Tim is a savvy engineer. Having arrived onto the scene at the tail end of the video era he not only knows everything there is to know about modern technology and systems, but he can still clean and calibrate a D1 deck blindfolded (ha!).

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Foundry releases Nuke 8.0 v6 and Nuke 9 beta updates

It's been a busy week for The Foundry, with the launch of Nuke 8.0 v6 and the release of the next Nuke 9 beta.

While there are no new features in Nuke 8 v6 it is crammed full of bug fixes, which should make for a smoother experience. So make sure you have the update installed and revel in its new glory.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Cinema 4D Release 16 presentations

Cinema 4D Release 16 may have only been shipped two weeks ago, but it's already making waves. 

And now you can watch top artists reveal some of the high end techniques used on visually stunning productions like Ender's Game, Dreadnought, and The Division. 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

20% off Mocha Pro

At IBC2014, Imagineer showed off the newly released of mocha Pro 4.01 with improved planar tracking and roto support for NUKE, Autodesk Flame & Smoke, Adobe Premiere and many more.

To celebrate they're running a one week promotion to get 20% off Mocha Pro.